It’s hard to pick the biggest loser of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Multiple Asian tiger economies were impacted, to such an extent that the IMF rolled out one record-breaking relief package after another. The multiple factors leading up to the crash were complex, but did the turmoil strengthen the region to withstand future crises?
Southeast Asia, with a high percentage of its population still underbanked but with growing economies and widespread smartphone adoption, is prime territory for fintech upstarts as well as pioneering incumbent banks. The race is on, and many players have jumped in, with ASEAN governments promoting the contest, which is pushing the limits of financial services to new boundaries. The ultimate winners, of course, will be the commercial and retail customers.
Thailand, an emerging market economy, is recognized as Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, with enviable growth over the years—however, its growth has slowed in 2019. Its export-led economy is feeling the pinch from the global economic slowdown, currency appreciation and trade squabbles between the world’s heavyweights. The new government of Thailand is committed to utilizing this captivating nation’s many attributes, keeping it at the forefront of the region’s innovation and investment.
The global financial crisis triggered many changes to the world’s financial system, including the ascension of alternative finance: financial channels, sources and instruments that exist beyond the traditional. Spurred on by the capital needs of fast-growing small and medium-sized firms and prospective real-estate buyers, alternative finance has mushroomed over the past 10 years into a multi-faceted, ever-evolving financial powerhouse capable of overcoming barriers to obtaining finance.